Nr.149 ended with: “They agreed to have me come for four evenings. I drove home wondering who would be there the next week………..!” (See richardandmarina.net).
When I arrived at Tony’s the next week, I was surprised to see that they were all back except the man who had said “this is against the Church, you’ll never see me again.” But a few others had come along, which was encouraging. I continued with the study of the Gospel of John and we had a blessed time. Of course, as always, the question came up again, “how can you be so sure you are going to heaven when you die? Are you so much better than others? Have you done so many good works?” And again, as always, I smiled inwardly and at the same time felt so sorry for these folk who were so religious and yet had no assurance at all as to their eternal destiny.
What a privilege to explain the true gospel to them and tell them that I was no better than anyone else and that I had not done that many good works to earn a place in heaven. I showed them how that Jesus had paid my debt on the cross, and how forgiveness and eternal life were a gift from Him. In Eph.2:8-9 it says that we are saved by grace, which is God’s unmerited favor, through faith, in what Christ has done on the cross, and that it is not of ourselves, but the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. No one who enters heaven will be able to say, “I am here because I have done this or that.” All will declare, “We are here because Jesus died for us and rose again.”
“Yes, but we have always been told that we have to do good works to earn our place in heaven,” someone said. So I explained that the Church had turned things around, it says, do good works and you will (maybe) go to heaven, while the Bible teaches that heaven is God’s gift and after we have received that gift, we will do good works to show how thankful we are. I sensed that some were really understanding this and I encouraged them to confess their sinfulness to Jesus and accept Him in their hearts as God’s gift.
The four weeks went by quickly and all were in agreement that we should continue, in fact, that Bible study went on eight years and often there were between 40 and 50 people present. After three months this living room became too small and we had to start a second study in another place and living room, but that is for next time…………! (Go to Musings).